Friday, 25 July 2014

999 It's An Emergency!!!

       This post will be published the exact minute the last 9H terminates at Kensington Holland Road, at 19:27. The reason why this post will be published then is because the route is being withdrawn today, Friday 25th July 2014. The Heritage service runs from Kensington (Holland Road) to Trafalgar Square, via the current 9 route. This, like the sole other Heritage Routemaster route (the 15H, from Trafalgar Square-Tower Hill), has a PVR of 5, and they meet at Trafalgar Square. The 9H runs on an every 20 minute frequency, so you might've had to wait a while to get one. The buses from the route in best condition will transfer east to run on route 15H, the rest, including the replaced buses from the 15H, will either join Tower Transit's or Stagecoach's heritage fleet, being used on special occasions.
     The reason why this route has been withdrawn is because "it wasn't used that much, and the 15H was a lot more popular." Frankly, I disagree with the first part of this statement, as all the 9H's I've seen have been carrying healthy loads, and I'm sure many people are bitterly disappointed at the withdrawal of this route. It is quite handy if the normal route 9 is bunching, and commuters often use it to get to and from work. It got extended from Royal Albert Hall to Holland Road in early 2012, although it still remains more popular between the Hall and Trafalgar Square. The vehicles do not have iBus fitted, despite them being visible on London Vehicle Finder and Live Bus Arrivals-both these sites use iBus data to track vehicles.
    To say farewell to the Heritage service, I decided to ride the route from Hammersmith-Aldwych, but also using the Heritage service, therefore taking 3 9 buses. I called the day 999, as I used 3 route 9 buses, and because it's sad that route 9H will be withdrawn. Here are the buses I used, and the experience on them:

                                                    9 NUMBER 1:

LT154 is allocated to route 10, but this bus and many others from the route often sneak out onto the 9.
    When I boarded at Hammersmith Bus Station, I didn't expect much, as I've never been too keen on New Routemasters. In fact, I spent the whole time just deleting pictures from the phone, so I can't really write about my experience here. Anyway, at Warwick Gardens, I waited for 9 number 2.

                                                  9 NUMBER 2:

    The heritage service.

RM1650, in a silver livery.
          It was immediately obvious when I boarded the 16:45 departure that many of the people on board this bus were saying farewell to the service, like me. I was lucky enough to get the front seats upstairs, which made the experience even better! The 9 is a pretty good route, and I think it's been ruined by the introduction of New Routemasters, so to ride it with a decent bus was good, knowing it would probably be the last time it'll happen. Despite it being the rush hour, there wasn't much traffic and the RM1650 was still quite nippy up Kensington High Street. Despite there being no air-cooling, this bus was only a little hotter than the NB4L, giving a sign that the Air Cooling on LTs doesn't work that well. The bus was nearly full by Green Park, and almost everyone who had got on had stayed on until Trafalgar Square. It was sad to get off, and I was dreading 9 number 3, despite me only being on it for three stops.

                                                9 NUMBER 3:

Here's LT79, a New Routemaster actually on its allocated route.
 Again, I couldn't really enjoy the experience, because it was an LT, and I was busy checking LVF to hunt down VW1211.